Five Really Hard Things that Successful People Do

We all hope to find those shortcuts that will bring us success whether in our personal lives or at work. We’ve all heard the tips to get up early, do tasks ‘now’ if they take less than five minutes, and schedule time for email and other routine tasks, but surely success isn’t simply rising before the sun. @RealEvilHRLady shared her list of five really hard things that successful people do.

  1. Get the right education/training. Look at the background of those in the field you strive for. What education, training and experience do they have? Take a look at job postings. What are the requirements for your dream position? Different training and educational experience opens and closes certain doors so know what is best for the job you want. Once you determine what you need, set goals and work towards gaining the necessary qualifications.
  1. Get your 10,000 hours in. Have you heard of Malcolm Gladwell’s famous 10,000-hour rule? Whether you believe 10,000 is the magic number or not, you cannot deny that there is no substitution for practice, practice and more practice to hone your skills and master your craft. It takes repetition and practice to stand out and become an expert whether in a profession, hobby or topic.
  1. Work harder and longer than others. Hard work pays off. You can’t expect to walk into a company off the street and demand a high position making bucko-bucks, you have to work for it. Keep your head down, put in the time and effort and it will lead to more opportunities and success.
  1. Stay healthy. Adapt a healthy lifestyle. Eat clean and stay active to help increase your energy and maintain focus. This takes effort and discipline. Know your body and what it takes to keep it running well. What works for one person may not be right for the next, so whether exercise for you is Pilates, crossfit or walking your dog, make time for yourself to rejuvenate and maintain your wellbeing.
  1. Shut up and listen. Depending on your personality, this may be a challenge. Learning to listen to others, embrace differing ideas and gracefully accept criticism will help you grow as a person and gain respect of those around you. This can be the difference between being seen as a leader or not by your colleagues.

So, as Thomas Edison said, “There is no substitution for hard work.” Integrate these five hard habits of successful people into your life, and see where they take you!

Traditional Performance Review Alternatives

You’ve probably seen the blogs lately on why traditional performance reviews are on the way out. If you didn’t, check this one out so you know what we are talking about here today: Or look at the trends we predicted for 2016 here:

Now that you’re caught up on your reading, here’s our take on the upcoming alternatives that will be available to replace the traditional, numbers-based, check-the-box performance reviews.

  1. There’s an app for that – performance management (like all facets of human resources in 2016 as discussed in our trends blog linked above) is moving in the direction of apps and mobile technology. There are already performance management and HRIS systems that allow for performance reviews to be conducted and tracked online. Some allow for the employee to provide feedback as well. Check out @BambooHR and @CornerstoneOnDemand for more details on this possibility or contact us today to find out what might be best for your company moving forward.
  2. Frequent and feedback will be the key to performance management in the coming years. Employees (especially the younger generation of workers flooding your hallways at the office) want more frequent feedback from their supervisors, not just an annual review and a raise. Along with the feedback may come more frequent wage increases, or it may be an incentive based performance management system. Either way, increasing the frequency will be a bonus for your employees.
  3. Employee involvement is also going to be critical to the new process. Out with the old “self-evaluation form” and in with a two-way conversation that occurs during performance evaluation meetings.
  4. Focus on the “Big 5” – what are the five accomplishments you’ve had since our last meeting and what are your five goals for the next period before we meet again?
  5. Use progress reports as documentation of these frequent check-ins with employees (something in writing is still going to be beneficial to the company and the manager should anything litigious arise or claims of any sort).

These tips will not only help make sure the company is protected, but managers and employees will be more satisfied with the performance management process as a whole. Check out other blogs on this #hottopic at or follow us on Facebook at or on Twitter @PeoplescapeHC.

Welcome to the Team: The Dos & Don’ts of Onboarding

Congratulations! You’ve made it through the grueling recruitment process, which can undoubtedly be as exhausting for the employer as it is for the new hire. Now what do you do? It’s time to welcome your new employee to the team via a process your human resources team will refer to as onboarding. But what exactly does this mean? And how can you avoid the statistics shared by SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) Foundation that 50% of new hires fail within their first four months, and 50% of senior management new hires fail within their first eighteen months? Here are a few tips and tricks for making the process seamless for all parties involved.

  1. Do have a written plan for onboarding.
  2. Do have team meetings for those involved in the onboarding process.
  3. Don’t drown your new hire in data. Piecemeal it in order of priority.
  4. Do start the process right away – don’t wait for the new hire to get it all handled without explicit directions on where, when, how, and why.
  5. Do provide clarity on the new hire’s direct supervisor, chain of communication, point person for HR, etc.
  6. Do offer and point out training opportunities – your Millennials will especially love this!
  7. Don’t be vague on your expectations. Be clear, be concise, be communicative.
  8. Don’t forget to ask for feedback, and do it often and consistently!

Onboarding is a bit like the honeymoon stage of a relationship. You want your new hire to have a full picture of the good pieces that your company has to offer, and have enough information to feel comfortable and capable of making it work. Honesty and communication are key to the onboarding process, and will go a long way to make those statistics come drastically down so that you are not spending time and energy on new hires that won’t stick around as long as you hope.



Lessons from K$SHA – Sexual Harassment Lawsuits on Blast

If you haven’t heard about K$sha’s lawsuit against her producer “Dr. Luke” you may not be on any social media at all. But, just in case, here’s a recap! K$sha has asked the courts to release her from a legally binding contract on the grounds that Dr. Luke (Lukasz Gottwald) drugged and raped her while working together in the past. What would you do as an employer if such a claim came out against one of your managers or supervisors? And what do you think the court should or should not do in this case? It’s a tough one to answer, because we all feel empathy for the alleged situation that has led K$sha to make these claims. But playing devil’s advocate, where will the line be drawn for breaking contracts if the court does rule in her favor? Will contracts be broken for accusations of felony acts or for disagreements or suspicion of favoritism or an unkind look in the wrong direction?

In K$sha’s case, these claims are just that – they have not been proven in a court of law and Dr. Luke has not been convicted of any crime. Because of the nature of these claims, I feel for K$sha. And as a woman, I feel that she should be heard and protected by the law. But as an HR professional, I struggle with whether or not there is a possible snowball effect here if K$sha is granted a way out of her contract. The allegations are awful and heartbreaking, as reported by @CBSNews. Dr. Luke allegedly forced K$sha to do drugs before a flight and then sexually assaulted her once she was drugged and incoherent. K$sha further claims that she was given “sober pills” by Dr. Luke and assaulted yet again, as well as physically assaulted and verbally threatened.

The facts of the case will be sorted out in a courtroom, but for HR professionals and company leaders, let’s take a look at the lessons we can learn from K$sha’s lawsuit.

Take all claims seriously.

  1. Investigate all claims thoroughly and with neutrality.
  2. Don’t immediately believe or disbelieve anyone – don’t make rash decisions.
  3. Do put the accused person on administrative leave while conducting your investigation (or take similar steps to ensure everyone’s safety).
  4. Be impartial.

Investigating is one of the toughest pieces of the HR puzzle, and as a company leader, you need to make sure your HR management level employees are trained, equipped, and confident in all areas of employee relations including the tough ones like harassment claim investigations.

Are your FMLA Procedures On Point?

Are you an HR Director? Did you know that you can be held personally liable for litigation and costly lawsuits as a result of handling FMLA requests that are not in compliant with federal law? Well, on March 17, 2016, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals decided that you can be held liable for FMLA mishandlings in Graziadio v. Culinary Institute of America, 2016.  Ms. Graziadio requested FMLA on two separate occasions for two different family illness/injury instances. There was a question as to whether or not Ms. Graziadio’s request and leave was abusive, but due to the poor communication and requests on the part of the employer to provide the necessary documentation, Ms. Graziadio was able to be victorious in a lawsuit against her employer for not handling the FMLA request correctly. The HR Director responsible for handling the correspondence was also under analysis during this lawsuit, to determine whether or not she was responsible as the employer.

What can we, as HR professionals and company leaders, take away from this case?

  1. Know the FMLA laws – keep a copy handy for your supervisors, managers, and the HR staff.
  2. Have standard letters prepared – instead of scrambling for paperwork when an FMLA leave is requested, have something prepared that you can use for these leaves. It will streamline your process and ensure that the procedure is followed correctly across the company.
  3. Request medical certification from the employee within 5 days of the leave request – if the employer does not specifically request one, it is not required for the employee to present one.
  4. Be clear on the required information – if an employee’s medical certification is incomplete or insufficient, the employer must request in writing what additional information is necessary. Be clear, thorough, and specific!
  5. Train your staff on FMLA – employers (supervisors, HR staff, management) should be knowledgeable on FMLA so that questions can be answered CORRECTLY by these members of your team.

For more information on this specific case, feel free to check out @NatLawReview on Facebook and Twitter!

Our Neighbors across the Pond: HR Growth in Europe

Europe has stumbled behind other western economies in terms of growth and recovery due to several geographical, political, and labor regulations throughout the continent. In France, labor regulations are extremely strict and limit the innovation and growth for companies across industry lines. In Germany, the traditional leadership structures inhibit the creativity and possibility for change in business. Across Europe, the cultural and ethnic narrow-mindedness does not allow for diversity in thought, action, or talent.

Considering these factors, the forecast for European business success does not look good for our friends across the pond. But, there is good news! In a recent study by the Society for Human Resource Management on leadership in 2016, European leaders were found to match their U.S. counterparts in many ways. Unfortunately, the structured constraints within Europe are what hinders growth in most cases.

European leaders in the study came up as more competitive, individualistic, and ambitious than their U.S. peers. European leaders could benefit from having an open mind in terms of global expansion, and moving their businesses across continents. Instead of individual success as the focus, a larger scale of success and accomplishment would serve European leaders well as they move forward in today’s undeniable global economy.

Another area of strength for European leaders is their understanding of strategic planning. However, the execution of these plans is often thwarted by the constraints we mentioned above: traditional hierarchy structures, lack of innovation and creativity in the workplace, and strict labor regulations. To combat this, European leaders must become more adept at implementing the strategy that they so easily conceptualize. As the adage goes, “actions speak louder than words!”

Finally, one other way in which European leaders can shape their growth and success in the coming years, is to focus on innovation. In SHRM’s study, European leaders showed themselves personally to be accepting and inviting towards innovation and change. However, the constraints that they are working within impede some of this creativity. European leaders need to work together to make change happen despite the boundaries that they are working within and around in most cases. Change does not happen overnight, but it is possible for Europe to make a shift and stay present and powerful in the new global economy.

Is Hillary Clinton Feminist Enough for the Millennial Crowd?

The gender divide in business has long been a topic of conversation in discussion forums, water cooler chats, and HR blogs. However, times are changing. So does the glass ceiling still exist? Is there still an old boys’ club in the office? According to @InsideTech, women do still face a glass ceiling in the workplace. Women still only earn 77 cents for every dollar that men earn. Women are often the ones staying home with sick children, while men are seen as the “breadwinners” even if their income is close in number to their female partners. It would be wonderful to see all of this change in my lifetime, but only time will tell. Nevertheless, there are some interesting changes coming in regards to the gender divide because of the influx of millennials in the workplace today.

In October, The Daily Beast reporter Lizzie Crocker recently dismissed Hillary Clinton as a legit feminist because she’s too “outdated” and “mainstream” on women’s issues. Of course, Crocker may have put some of the blame for this on Clinton’s generational identification as a baby boomer. More recently, Los Angeles Times columnist, Meghan Daum (a self-proclaimed Generation Xer) countered this opinion by Crocker and argued that Clinton is, in fact, a feminist. So what’s the story? Clinton herself does identify as a feminist, and is in support of women’s issues. However, she is criticized for not being liberal enough in her views of women’s rights according to some millennial opinions. But to say someone is or is not a feminist, based on whether they subscribe to the latest definition and gender theory, is a little harsh. A feminist, put simply, is someone who believes women should have equal rights and opportunities. So instead of bashing each other for subscribing to one school of thought over another, let’s embrace those who believe we all deserve equality and opportunity, regardless of social, economic, political, ethnic, racial, or gender identity factors.

The generational differences in the workforce clearly impact more than just the day-to-day operations of innovative, tech-savvy millennials vs. procedure-oriented, loyal baby boomers. The generational differences bleed into so many larger issues and ideas of thought, that it cannot be ignored. As we enter an interesting (to say the least) season of politics in 2016, it is critical for workplace leaders and human resources professionals to keep these notions in mind as we implement change and call for action at work.

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Being a manager has its perks: you call the shots, you say who takes vacation and you get first dibs on the coffee and potluck goodies (I kid). But, what about the downsides of being the boss? There are definitely tough situations that require you to be objective, fair, efficient, and inspiring. But you have to balance all of that with being a leader, not a friend. And you also should try to be a manager that people want to work with and can learn from. It’s a tall order, right? You know that your friends here at Peoplescape aim to make life as a manager of people easier for you with helpful tips and tricks along the way. So without further adieu, here are the top ways to make sure you are leading your team effectively and setting a positive example for your employees.

  1. Share the praise, but also take the blame. When things go wrong, own it. Setting a positive example as a leader of the team, and taking the good with the bad, is a great way to guide your employees to do the same. Honesty and accountability make for a great collaborative work environment.
  2. If you want them to be creative, show your innovative side. If you want them to be responsible and show up to work on time, make a point to be the first one in and the last one out the door. Be what you want them to be. Monkey see, monkey do. Unlike the age old parenting phrase of “Do as I say not as I do,” your employees are looking to you for the example of how they should behave, and you set the bar. Set it high!
  3. Be kind. So easy to say, but not always the easiest thing in the world to do! Kindness can go a long way, and the benefits you will reap as a manager when you are kind to your employees, when you guide them and lead them and walk alongside them – those benefits will be huge in terms of employee productivity, loyalty, and engagement.


One quick tip that may help with all of these is to replace the word “BUT” with the word “AND” when at all possible. Instead of saying that an employee is doing well in all areas but communication, suggest that you and the employee can work together on communication. In this example, you as the manager are taking responsibility, being kind and setting an example of how you would like to see this employee act. Three birds, one stone! Happy manager, happy employee!